Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Inerrancy and the bishops

"Rome's Battle for the Bible" at Christianity Today, is a report on the debate about the Bible at an ongoing synod of bishops in Rome. The article includes a brief summary of the Catholic doctrine of inerrancy:
Catholic challenges to inerrancy in the late 20th century went against longstanding church teaching. No less an authority than Augustine of Hippo set the church's standard. "The authority of these books has come down to us from the apostles through the successions of bishops and the extension of the church, and, from a position of lofty supremacy, claims the submission of every faithful and pious mind," Augustine wrote in a response to Faustus the Manichaean. "If we are perplexed by an apparent contradiction in Scripture, it is not allowable to say, 'The author of this book is mistaken;' but either the manuscript is faulty, or the translation is wrong, or you have not understood." Pope Leo XIII cited Augustine in his landmark 1893 encyclical on the study of Holy Scripture. The Vatican subsequently launched a decades-long crackdown on higher criticism. At the same time, controversies over the authority of Scripture were wreaking havoc in Protestant seminaries and denominations. More recently, Catholic seminaries and universities have tolerated scholars who deny the historicity of some biblical events, such as Jesus' miracles. Pope Benedict XVI is an Augustinian, and his years as a university professor have acquainted him with the challenges posed by critical scholarship. According to Allen, the pope advocates "canonical exegesis," which "takes the unity of the Bible for granted and aims at a theological rather than a simply literary-historical interpretation." .... .... After fighting their own battles over inerrancy, Protestants will be watching. "The only way forward in ecumenical dialogue is the biblical pathway," [Timothy] George said. "The Roman Catholic Church is taking the Bible more seriously now than it did 30 to 50 years ago. This is a good sign."
Rome's Battle for the Bible | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. I will gladly approve any comment that responds directly and politely to what has been posted.